If you realize that all things change,
there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
If you aren’t afraid of dying,
there is nothing you can’t achieve.
Tao te Ching
“She’s way too fat for that skirt.”
Up until about 10 years ago, any pretty young thing walking by was immediately grabbed by my mind’s eye and held under the microscope of my scathing criticism. “Doesn’t she know how ridiculous she looks in that color?” “Who does her HAIR? Ewww!” “Does she put that makeup on with a trowel?” “She’s got a freezer mouth – everyone puts their meat in it.” “Desperation, party of one!” “Oh yeah, there’s a Macintosh girl: she’s user friendly. Skanky slut.”
The insecurity of young women is buttressed by their jealousy, rivalry, and bitterness. For some reason, the green-eyed primordial ooze that makes up the lizard portion of the female brain tells us that other women are our competition for survival.
Women who are now entering middle age grew up in an odd time. The cultural revolution was just starting. Housewives and mothers were still the role models in our entertainment fare, but women like Gloria Steinem and Billie Jean King were tearing down walls and changing definitions. Baking cookies and burning bras competed equally for our attention.
We should be the first generation to know better. Somehow, though, we didn’t get the right message. We still instinctively went to battle against anyone who might be younger, prettier, thinner, or sport a larger cup size. We sharpened our nails and our tongues and ripped apart the enemy, making sure that she looked undesirable in the eyes of our caveman rescuers.
If only we’d spent that same energy empowering each other. Imagine the cooperative force of women united, building each other up, giving each other support, basking in our collective beauty. We might have freed ourselves of the self-imposed shackles of insecurity and dependency.
Yeah, I’ve heard that same speech for 40 years now. Maybe in a happy shiny world where rainbows dance and clean fuel alternatives make the flowers grow under a haze-free sky.
Sit down among a group of 20-somethings now. Little has changed. They fidget with their hair, meticulously check their lipstick, and slit their eyes in cruel examination of any girl unlucky enough to enter their scope of attention. “MUFFin top,” they whisper at each other. “OMG, 1990 called. They want their hairstyle back.” “Peanut butter legs – easy to spread.” They feed on their loathing like John Pinette at a Chinese buffet.
Around 40 though, if you’re lucky, something changes. While there is still a percentage of the older population that thinks that “cougar” and “MILF” are desirable designations, most of us have learned that trying to rule the world by our tweeties is a waste of our much more powerful resources.
Nowadays I see those young things walk by in their little skirts and their perky boobs and I want to run and grab them. I want to throw my arms around them and reassure them. I want to shake them into realizing how gorgeous they all are. Every one of them. Fat, thin, tall, short, they’re all so beautiful. They sparkle with it. They are far more lovely than they realize. The very fact of their youth makes them shine – dazzling my eyes with memories and hope. The world is at their feet, and there is a clear path to the horizon. I pray that nobody dampens their light. I pray that they realize their power. I pray that they grab hold of and ride their future with the wind in their hair and the sun on their faces. I hope they revel in their beauty and then celebrate the better things to come after youth calms down its hormonal hold on their consciousness.
I wish all women could see youth this way: as the building material of future greatness rather than a lost treasure. I wish we could all put down the push-up bras and just roll up and pin our boobs under our arms or tuck them into our waist-bands like the universe intended. Step away from the scalpel and just get yourself a good moisturizer. Leave youth to the young. Enjoy them, at a distance. If you are competing with these girls, you’ve lost sight of the prize, because no man who wants them has a chance in hell of getting into my elastic-waisted pants. I’ve already won all the glory that youth and beauty had to give. I’m working on broader horizons, now.
Do yourself a favor, ladies. Go hug a skanky slut today. You’ll feel better for it.